|Publication number||US7977645 B1|
|Application number||US 12/405,168|
|Publication date||Jul 12, 2011|
|Filing date||Mar 16, 2009|
|Priority date||Nov 9, 2007|
|Also published as||US8362439|
|Publication number||12405168, 405168, US 7977645 B1, US 7977645B1, US-B1-7977645, US7977645 B1, US7977645B1|
|Inventors||Kanai S. Shah, William M. Higgins, Edgar V. Van Loef, Jaroslaw Glodo|
|Original Assignee||Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (17), Non-Patent Citations (11), Referenced by (4), Classifications (5), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/938,176, entitled “Cesium and Lithium-Containing Quaternary Compound Scintillators,” filed on Nov. 9, 2007 now U.S. Pat. No. 7,655,919, and a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/938,182, entitled “Cesium and Sodium-Containing Scintillator Compositions,” filed on Nov. 9, 2007, and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/045,891, filed Apr. 17, 2008, the entire content of each of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present application is related to U.S. Application No. 12,405,137, entitled “Cesium and Lithium-Containing Quaternary Compound Scintillators,” filed on Mar. 16, 2009 and U.S. application Ser. No. 12/405,155, entitled “Cesium and Sodium-Containing Scintillator Compositions,” filed on Mar. 16, 2009, each of which is being filed concurrently herewith, the full disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates to scintillator compositions and related devices and methods. More specifically, the present invention relates to scintillator compositions including a scintillation compound and a dopant for use, for example, in radiation detection, including gamma-ray spectroscopy, and X-ray and neutron detection, imaging applications, and the like.
Scintillation spectrometers are widely used in detection and spectroscopy of energetic photons (e.g., X-rays, gamma-rays, etc.). Such detectors are commonly used, for example, in nuclear and particle physics research, medical imaging, diffraction, non destructive testing, nuclear treaty verification and safeguards, nuclear non-proliferation monitoring, and geological exploration.
Important requirements for the scintillation crystals used in these applications include high light output, transparency to the light it produces, high stopping efficiency, fast response, good proportionality, low cost, and availability in large volume. These requirements on the whole cannot be met by many of the commercially available scintillator compositions. While general classes of chemical compositions may be identified as potentially having some attractive scintillation characteristic(s), specific compositions/formulations having both scintillation characteristics and physical properties necessary for actual use in scintillation spectrometers and various practical applications have proven difficult to predict. Specific scintillation properties are not necessarily predictable from chemical composition alone, and preparing effective scintillator compositions from even candidate materials often proves difficult. For example, while the composition of sodium chloride had been known for many years, the invention by Hofstadter of a high light-yield and conversion efficiency scintillator from sodium iodide doped with thallium launched the era of modern radiation spectrometry. More than half a century later, thallium doped sodium iodide, in fact, still remains one of the most widely used scintillator materials. Since the invention of NaI(Tl) scintillators in the 1940's, for half a century radiation detection applications have depended to a significant extent on this material. The fields of nuclear medicine, radiation monitoring, and spectroscopy have grown up supported by NaI(Tl). Although far from ideal, NaI(Tl) was relatively easy to produce for a reasonable cost and in large volume. With the advent of X-ray CT in the 1970's, a major commercial field emerged as did a need for different scintillator compositions, as NaI(Tl) was not able to meet the requirements of CT imaging. Later, the commercialization of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging provided the impetus for the development of yet another class of detector materials with properties suitable for PET. As the methodology of scintillator development evolved, new materials have been added, and yet, specific applications are still hampered by the lack of scintillators suitable for particular applications.
As a result, there is continued interest in the search for new scintillator compositions and formulations with both the enhanced performance and the physical characteristics needed for use in various applications. Today, the development of new scintillator compositions continues to be as much an art as a science, since the composition of a given material does not necessarily determine its properties as a scintillator, which are strongly influenced by the history (e.g., fabrication process) of the material as it is formed. While it may be possible to reject a potential scintillator for a specific application based solely on composition, it is typically difficult to predict whether even a material with a promising composition can be used to produce a useful scintillator with the desired properties.
One of the uses of radiation monitoring devices is preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons. One way to passively determine the presence of nuclear weapons is to detect and identify the characteristic signatures of special nuclear materials (SNMs) such as highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium. Characteristic X-rays and gamma-rays are signatures of these materials. The general approach to a passive gamma-ray assay is to acquire raw spectra, correct the spectra for rate-related electronic losses and source attenuation, and compute the total corrected count rate, which is proportional to the mass of the isotope being assayed. The proportionality constant includes the effects of gamma-ray emission rate, solid angle, and detector efficiency.
Monitoring for both highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium involves analysis of X-ray and gamma-ray spectra with multiple energies of interest. One important consideration in SNM monitoring is the determination of uranium enrichment since highly enriched uranium can be used for development of nuclear weapons. The naturally occurring isotopic abundance of uranium is: 238U (99.27%), 235U (0.720%) and 234U (0.006%). When the fraction of the fissile 235U is higher than that in naturally occurring uranium, the uranium is said to be enriched. The relative intensity of 185.7 keV gamma-rays (from 235U) compared to the 94-98 keV X-rays for uranium in an unattenuated spectrum can be used to determine uranium enrichment (Passive Nondestructive Assay of Nuclear Materials, eds. Reilly et al., U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington D.C., pp. 11-18, (1991)). As the uranium enrichment level increases, the relative intensity of the 185.7 keV gamma-ray peak increases in comparison to the 94-98 keV X-ray peak. Another consideration in SNM monitoring is to distinguish “weapons-grade” plutonium (with 93% 239Pu) from “reactor-grade” plutonium <60% 239Pu). The “reactor-grade” plutonium includes other isotopes such as 240Pu, 241Pu, 242Pu, and 238Pu. Comparison of gamma-ray signatures of 239Pu (such as 129.3 keV and 413.7 keV photons) with those for other plutonium isotopes allows determination of the grade of plutonium. In addition to the characteristic X- and gamma-rays of highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium, there is considerable interest in the measurement of irradiated fuel from nuclear reactors because of the plutonium produced during reactor operation. Due to very intense gamma-rays emitted by fission products of the irradiated fuel, gamma-rays from spontaneous decay of plutonium and uranium (235U, 239Pu and 241Pu) are generally not used for measurement of irradiated fuel. The most commonly measured fission product gamma-ray is the 662 keV line from 137Cs. Recent threat of “dirty bombs” (devices which spread radioactive material using conventional, non-nuclear explosives) has also created an interest in monitoring of radioactive materials such as 137Cs, 60Co, 241Am, radioactive medical waste, and irradiated fuel from nuclear reactors that emit high energy gamma-rays.
Thus, gamma-ray spectrometers and radiation detectors are important tools in monitoring of special nuclear materials. A number of homeland security systems such as hand-held radioisotope identifiers, vehicle portals for radiation detection, and personal radiation detection devices rely on availability of high performance gamma-ray spectrometers. Similar systems are also required for nuclear non-proliferation monitoring. An important challenge in homeland security monitoring is not only to detect hidden radioactive materials but also to distinguish them from routinely used radiopharmaceuticals as well as from naturally occurring benign radioactive materials.
Existing scintillator materials and commercial radiation detectors do not meet the current needs for radiation monitoring and weapons detection. For example, existing scintillator compositions and detectors typically lack the one or more important scintillation properties (e.g., high energy resolution, light output, stopping power, fast response, and the like) that are desired and/or are not useful in detecting both energetic photons (e.g., gamma-rays and X-rays) as well as neutron emission. Thus, a need exists for improved scintillator compositions suitable for use in various radiation detection applications, including, for example, radiation and nuclear weapons monitoring.
The present invention provides scintillator compositions, including mixtures of different quaternary scintillator compounds, and related devices and methods. In one embodiment, scintillator compositions of the invention can, for example, include one or more compounds selected from Cs2NaLaBr6, Cs2NaGdI6, Cs2NaLaI6, and Cs2NaLuI6. These materials have in common a quaternary composition comprising Cs and Na, a Lanthanide and a Halide. In another embodiment, a scintillator composition can include materials that have in common a quaternary compound composition comprising Cs, Li, La and a Halide. Exemplary scintillator compositions can, for example, include Cs2LiLaF6, Cs2LiLaCl6, Cs2LiLaBr6, and Cs2LiLaI6. Scintillator compositions of the present invention can include a single type of scintillator compound or a mixture of different compounds (e.g., mixed scintillator compositions). Mixed scintillator compositions can include one or more of the cesium and sodium-containing quaternary compounds disclosed herein, or one or more of the cesium and lithium-containing quaternary compounds disclosed herein. In another embodiment, e.g., a composition can include a mixed composition that includes at least two different CsXLa halide compounds, where X is Na or Li. Exemplary halides can include F, Cl, Br, or I.
Excellent scintillation properties, including high light output, good proportionality, fast response, and good energy resolution have been measured for certain compositions of the present invention, which were demonstrated to be suitable for gamma-ray spectroscopy, as well as X-ray and neutron emission detection. Scintillator compositions as described herein are cubic (and therefore easy to grow) typically have high light output and fast response. For gamma rays, the non-proportionality is particularly outstanding and can translate into good energy resolution. These materials have very good non-proportionality (e.g., about 2% non-proportionality over 60 to 1000 keV energy range). The scintillator compositions show outstanding light output for neutrons in comparison to previously existing neutron scintillators and can show pulse shape discrimination between neutrons and gamma rays. Thus, these materials additionally advantageously combine excellent gamma-ray detection properties along with neutron detection.
Scintillation properties of the certain crystals/compositions of the present invention and described herein include peak emission wavelengths from about 385 to about 475 nm, which is well matched to PMTs as well as silicon diodes used in nuclear instrumentation and a peak wavelength for gamma-ray spectroscopy. The principal decay-time constant in one instance was measured at approximately 50 ns, which is faster than the decay-time constant of commercial scintillators such as BGO and GSO (see, e.g., Table 1 infra). Thus, in one embodiment, the present invention includes scintillator compositions having decay time constants better than, or having a value of less than, 200 ns (e.g., less than 150 ns). In some embodiments, the decay time constant can be better than 100 ns, or even better than 50 ns. Under gamma ray excitation, the light output typically will be greater than about 10,000 photons/MeV, and in some instances greater than about 20,000, 40,000, or 60,000 photons/MeV (e.g., ranging from about 17,000 to about 60,000 photons/MeV and greater), which is greater than that of many widely used commercial scintillators.
One aspect of the present invention includes a scintillator composition including a scintillation compound and a dopant. Scintillation compounds can include a compound with the formula x1-x2-x3-x4. In certain embodiments, x1 can include Cs, x2 can include Na, x3 can include La, Gd, or Lu, and x4 can include a halide. In some embodiments, the scintillator composition can include a single dopant or a mixture of dopants. Scintillator compositions of the present invention can include a mixture of different compounds (e.g., quaternary compounds) disclosed herein, such as mixed scintillator compositions including two or more different CsXLa halide compounds, where X is Na or Li.
In another aspect, the invention further includes devices, such as a radiation detection device having a scintillator composition including a scintillation compound and a dopant; and a photodetector assembly optically coupled to the scintillator composition. The photodetector assembly can include, for example, a photomultiplier tube, a photo diode, or a PIN detector. The device may further include a data analysis, or computer, system for processing and analyzing detected signals.
In yet another aspect, the invention includes an X-ray and neutron detector assembly, including a scintillator composition including a scintillation compound and a dopant, a photodetector assembly, and electronics or a system for data processing/analysis. For example, the device can include electronics configured for performing pulse-shape analysis to differentiate gamma ray from neutron emissions.
In yet another aspect, the invention includes a method of performing radiation detection. Such a method can include, for example, providing a detection device having a detector assembly including a scintillator composition including a scintillation compound and a dopant; a photodetector assembly; and positioning a target within a field of view of the scintillator as to detect emissions from the target. Emissions can include, for example, gamma-ray, X-ray, or neutron emissions. A target can include various potential sources of detectable emissions including neutron emitters (e.g., plutonium and the like), gamma-ray sources (e.g., uranium and the like), X-ray sources, etc. In one embodiment, for example, the scintillator compositions can be used for imaging applications including medical imaging such as in a method of performing PET (e.g., time-of-flight PET) or SPECT. In such an embodiment, the imaging method can comprise injecting or otherwise administering a patient with a detectable label, and, after a sufficient period of time to allow localization or distribution of the label, placing the patient within the field of view of the detection device. Thus, in some embodiments the target includes a patient or a portion of a patient's body.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention, reference should be had to the ensuing detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. The drawings represent embodiments of the present invention by way of illustration. The invention is capable of modification in various respects without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings/figures and description of these embodiments are illustrative in nature, and not restrictive.
This invention will be better understood with resort to the following definitions:
A. Rise time, in reference to a scintillation crystal material, shall mean the speed with which its light output grows once a gamma-ray has been stopped in the crystal. The contribution of this characteristic of a scintillator combined with the decay time contribute to a timing resolution.
B. A Fast timing scintillator (or fast scintillator) typically includes a timing resolution of about 500 ps or less. For certain PET applications (e.g., time-of-flight (TOF)), the fast scintillator should be capable of localizing an annihilation event as originating from within about a 30 cm distance, i.e., from within a human being scanned.
C. Timing accuracy or resolution, usually defined by the full width half maximum (FWHM) of the time of arrival differences from a point source of annihilation gamma-rays. Because of a number of factors, there is a spread of measured values of times of arrival, even when they are all equal. Usually they distribute along a bell-shaped or Gaussian curve. The FWHM is the width of the curve at a height that is half of the value of the curve at its peak.
D. Light Output shall mean the number of light photons produced per unit energy deposited by the detected gamma-ray, typically the number of light photons/MeV.
E. Stopping power or attenuation shall mean the range of the incoming X-ray or gamma-ray in the scintillation crystal material. The attenuation length, in this case, is the length of crystal material needed to reduce the incoming beam flux to 1/e−.
F. Proportionality of response (or linearity). For some applications (such as CT scanning) it is desirable that the light output be substantially proportional to the deposited energy. For applications such as spectroscopy, non-proportionality of response is an important parameter. In a typical scintillator, the number of light photons produced per MeV of incoming gamma-ray energy is not constant. Rather, it varies with the energy of the stopped gamma-ray. This has two deleterious effects. The first is that the energy scale is not linear, but it is possible to calibrate for the effect. The second is that it degrades energy resolution. To see how this occurs, consider a scintillator that produces 300 photons at 150 keV, 160 photons at 100 keV and 60 photons at 50 keV. From statistics alone, the energy resolution at 150 keV should be the variability in 300 photons, which is 5.8%, or 8.7 keV. If every detected event deposited 150 keV in one step this would be the case. On the other hand, if, as it occurs, an event deposited 100 keV in a first interaction and then another 50 keV in a second interaction, the number of photons produced would not be 300 on the average, but 160+60=220 photons, for a difference of 80 photons or 27%. In multiple detections, the peak would broaden well beyond the theoretical 8.7 keV. The smaller the non-proportionality the smaller this broadening and the closer the actual energy resolution approaches the theoretical limit.
The scintillation compositions of the present invention will respond by emitting light after detecting charged particles, high energy photons, and for some embodiments, neutrons, thereby providing useful scintillation properties. The scintillation compound has the formula, x1-x2-x3-x4, and can include Cs as x1, Na as x2, La, Gd, or Lu as x3, and a halide such as Br or I as x4. Gd has a large neutron cross-section. In certain embodiments, a dopant as specified in the specification and claims, can be added to the scintillator composition. In certain embodiments, the scintillation compound elements exist in atomic ratios of 2:1:1:6 with a dopant, such as Cs2NaGdI6:2% Ce.
Scintillator compositions can include a single quaternary compound selected from those described herein or a mixture of different compounds described herein. Compositions can, e.g., include mixed scintillator compositions with at least two different CsXLa halide compounds, where X is Na or Li. Thus, mixed scintillator compositions can include a mixture of at least two quaternary compounds having Na or Li at the second position, such that the quaternary compound mixture includes, for example, Cs(Na,Li)La halide. Halides can include, for example, F, Cl, Br, or I. Certain embodiments can further include mixed scintillator compositions that include a mixture of at least two quaternary compounds having Na or Li at the second position and at least two different halides at the fourth position, such that the quaternary compound mixture includes, for example, Cs(Na,Li)La(Cl,Br) or any other possible combination of halides and Na and Li. Thus, as different compounds may have different scintillation characteristics, one advantage of the present invention includes the ability to select or customize a particular mixed composition ratio or formulation, where a particular selection or formulation is at least partially based on intended use of the scintillator composition and/or desired properties or scintillation/performance characteristics. For example, a particular mixed quaternary compound composition (e.g., mixed CsXLa halide composition such that X is Na or Li) formulation may be selected based on one or more of a variety of factors, such as desired stopping power (e.g., at least partially as a function of atomic number), neutron response, bandgap levels tuning/optimization for Ce emission and light output, pulse shape discrimination, gamma-ray sensitivity, and the like.
The scintillator compositions of the invention are particularly useful, for example, for spectroscopy detection of energetic photons (e.g., X-rays, gamma-rays), as well as for neutron emission detection. Notable characteristics for the scintillation compositions of the invention include surprisingly robust light output, high gamma-ray and neutron stopping efficiency (attenuation), fast response, and good non-proportionality. Furthermore, the scintillator compositions can be efficiently and economically produced. Thus, detectors having scintillator compositions described in the present invention are useful in a wide variety of applications, including without limitation nuclear and high energy physics research, medical imaging, diffraction, non-destructive testing, nuclear treaty verification and safeguards, and geological exploration.
The scintillator composition of the present invention can optionally include a “dopant”. Dopants can affect certain properties, such as physical properties (e.g., brittleness, etc.) as well as scintillation properties (e.g., luminescence, etc.) of the scintillator composition. The dopant can include, for example, cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), lutetium (Lu), lanthanum (La), europium (Eu), samarium (Sm), strontium (Sr), thallium (Tl), chlorine (Cl), fluorine (F), iodine (I), and mixtures of any of the dopants. The amount of dopant present will depend on various factors, such as the application for which the scintillator composition is being used; the desired scintillation properties (e.g., emission properties, timing resolution, etc.); and the type of detection device into which the scintillator is being incorporated. For example, the dopant is typically employed at a level in the range of about 0.1% to about 20%, by molar weight. In certain embodiments, the amount of dopant is in the range of about 0.1% to about 100%, or about 0.1% to about 5.0%, or about 5.0% to about 20%, by molar weight.
The scintillator compositions of the invention may be prepared in several different forms. In some embodiments, the composition is in a crystalline form (e.g., monocrystalline). Scintillation crystals, such as monocrystalline scintillators, have a greater tendency for transparency than other forms. Scintillators in crystalline form (e.g., scintillation crystals) are often useful for high-energy radiation detectors, e.g., those used for gamma-ray or X-ray detection. However, the composition can include other forms as well, and the selected form may depend, in part, on the intended end use of the scintillator. For example, a scintillator can be in a powder form. It can also be prepared in the form of a ceramic or polycrystalline ceramic. Other forms of scintillation compositions will be recognized and can include, for example, glasses, deposits, vapor deposited films, microcolumnar, or other forms suitable for radiation detection as described herein. It should also be understood that a scintillator composition might contain small amounts of impurities. Also, minor amounts of other materials may be purposefully included in the scintillator compositions to affect the properties of the scintillator compositions.
Methods for making crystal materials can include those methods described herein and may further include other techniques. Typically, the appropriate reactants are melted at a temperature sufficient to form a congruent, molten composition. The melting temperature will depend on the identity of the reactants themselves (see, e.g., melting points of reactants), but is usually in the range of about 300° C. to about 1350° C. Non-limiting examples of the crystal-growing methods can include certain techniques of the Bridgman-Stockbarger methods; the Czochralski methods, the zone-melting methods (or “floating zone” method), the vertical gradient freeze (VGF) methods, and the temperature gradient methods. See, e.g., Example 1 infra. (see also, e.g., “Luminescent Materials”, by G. Blasse et al, Springer-Verlag (1994) and “Crystal Growth Processes”, by J. C. Brice, Blackie & Son Ltd (1986)).
In the practice of the present invention, attention is paid to the physical properties of the scintillator material. In particular applications, properties such as hygroscopy (tendency to absorb water), brittleness (tendency to crack), and crumbliness should be minimal.
Properties of Scintillators
Table I provides a listing of certain properties of a number of scintillators. Compared to other commercially available scintillators, including CsI, which is among the scintillation materials with the highest known light output, the scintillator compositions of these inventions produce comparable light output. In addition, they have a fast principal decay-time constant.
As set forth above, scintillator compositions of the present invention may find use in a wide variety of applications. In one embodiment, for example, the invention is directed to a method for detecting energy radiation (e.g., gamma-rays, X-rays, neutron emissions, and the like) with a scintillation detector including the scintillation composition of the invention.
A data analysis, or computer, system thereof can include, for example, a module or system to process information (e.g., radiation detection information) from the detector/photodetectors can also be included in an invention assembly and can include, for example, a wide variety of proprietary or commercially available computers, electronics, or systems having one or more processing structures, a personal computer, mainframe, or the like, with such systems often comprising data processing hardware and/or software configured to implement any one (or combination of) the method steps described herein. Any software will typically comprise machine readable code of programming instructions embodied in a tangible media such as a memory, a digital or optical recording media, optical, electrical, or wireless telemetry signals, or the like, and one or more of these structures may also be used to transmit data and information between components of the system in any of a wide variety of distributed or centralized signal processing architectures.
The detector assembly typically includes material formed from the scintillator composition described herein (e.g., one or more scintillator crystals). The detector further can include, for example, a light detection assembly including one or more photodetectors. Non-limiting examples of photodetectors include photomultiplier tubes (PMT), photodiodes, CCD sensors, image intensifiers, and the like. Choice of a particular photodetector will depend in part on the type of radiation detector being fabricated and on its intended use of the device. In certain embodiments, the photodetector may be position-sensitive.
The detector assemblies themselves, which can include the scintillator and the photodetector assembly, can be connected to a variety of tools and devices, as mentioned previously. Non-limiting examples include nuclear weapons monitoring and detection devices, well-logging tools, and imaging devices, such as nuclear medicine devices (e.g., PET). Various technologies for operably coupling or integrating a radiation detector assembly containing a scintillator to a detection device can be utilized in the present invention, including various known techniques.
The detectors may also be connected to a visualization interface, imaging equipment, or digital imaging equipment (e.g., pixilated flat panel devices). In some embodiments, the scintillator may serve as a component of a screen scintillator. For example, powdered scintillator material could be formed into a relatively flat plate, which is attached to a film, such as photographic film. Energetic radiation, e.g., X-rays, gamma-rays, neutron, originating from a source, would interact with the scintillator and be converted into light photons, which are visualized in the developed film. The film can be replaced by amorphous silicon position-sensitive photodetectors or other position-sensitive detectors, such as avalanche diodes and the like.
Imaging devices, including medical imaging equipment, such as the PET and SPECT devices, and the like, represent another important application for invention scintillator compositions and radiation detectors. Furthermore, geological exploration devices, such as well-logging devices, were mentioned previously and represent an important application for these radiation detectors. The assembly containing the scintillator usually includes, for example, an optical window at one end of the enclosure-casing. The window permits radiation-induced scintillation light to pass out of the scintillator assembly for measurement by the photon detection assembly or light-sensing device (e.g., photomultiplier tube, etc.), which is coupled to the scintillator assembly. The light-sensing device converts the light photons emitted from the scintillator into electrical pulses that may be shaped and digitized, for example, by the associated electronics. By this general process, gamma-rays can be detected, which in turn provides an analysis of geological formations, such as rock strata surrounding the drilling bore holes.
In many of the applications of a scintillator composition as set forth above (e.g., nuclear weapons monitoring and detection, imaging, and well-logging and PET technologies), certain characteristics of the scintillator are desirable, including high light output, fast rise time and short decay time, good timing resolution, and suitable physical properties. The present invention is expected to provide scintillator materials that can provide the desired high light output and initial photon intensity characteristics for demanding applications of the technologies. Moreover, the invention scintillator compositions are also expected to simultaneously exhibit the other important properties noted above, e.g., short decay time and good stopping power. Furthermore, the scintillator materials are also expected to be produced efficiently and economically, and also expected to be employed in a variety of other devices which require radiation/signal detection (e.g., gamma-ray, X-ray, neutron emissions, and the like).
The following examples are intended to illustrate but not limit the invention.
The present example provides a method for growing and provides characterization for the scintillator composition crystals. The following examples are offered by way of illustration, not by way of limitation.
Crystal Growth of Compounds Exemplified with Cs2NaLaBr6, Cs2NaGdI6, Cs2NaLaI6, and Cs2NaLuI6
In one example, a one zone Bridgman furnace was used for crystal growth. Typical growth rates for the Bridgman process are about 1-6 mm/hour. Growth rates ranging from about 1 mm/day to about 1 cm/hour may be utilized. The range of rates may be extended to improve material quality.
Cs2NaLaBr6, Cs2NaGdI6, Cs2NaLaI6, and Cs2NaLuI6 have a cubic crystal structure. The densities of Cs2NaLaBr6, Cs2NaGdI6, Cs2NaLaI6, and Cs2NaLuI6 are between about 3.9 and about 4.6 g/cm3. The compositions melt congruently at approximately 78, 925, 778, and 1050° C., respectively, and therefore their crystals can be grown using melt based methods such as those described by Bridgman and Czochralski. These melt-based processes are well suited for growth of large volume crystals (Brice, Crystal Growth Processes, Blackie Halsted Press (1986)). The Bridgman method has been used for growing Cs2NaLaBr6, Cs2NaGdI6, Cs2NaLaI6, and Cs2NaLuI6. Both the vertical and horizontal orientations of the Bridgman method can be used in producing crystals of the present invention. In certain embodiments, the vertical Bridgman method was used in producing crystals examined and discussed below.
Cs2NaLaBr6: Single crystals of this material were grown by the Bridgman technique in vertical silica ampoules under vacuum. Starting materials were CsBr (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), NaBr (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), and LaBr3 (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.99+%).
Cs2NaGdI6: Single crystals of this material were grown by the Bridgman technique in vertical silica ampoules under vacuum. Starting materials were CsI (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), NaI (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), and GdI3 (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.99+%).
Cs2NaLaI6: Single crystals of this material were grown by the Bridgman technique in vertical silica ampoules under vacuum. Starting materials were CsI (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), NaI (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), and LaI3 (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.99+%).
Cs2NaLuI6: Single crystals of this material were grown by the Bridgman technique in vertical silica ampoules under vacuum. Starting materials were CsI (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), NaI (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.9%), and LuI3 (Aldrich, anhydrous, 99.99+%).
Scintillation Properties of Scintillator Compositions
Scintillation properties of small Bridgman grown scintillation composition crystals (≦300 mm3) have been characterized. This investigation involved measurement of the light output, the emission spectrum, and the scintillation decay time of the crystals. Energy resolution of sample crystals and their proportionality of response were also measured.
1. Light Output and Energy Resolution
As shown in
2. Emission Spectrum
Normalized emission spectra for the scintillator compositions are shown in
3. Time Profiles
As shown in
Overall, these measurements indicated that the scintillator compositions as described in the present invention have high light output, fast response and show good qualities in terms of light output, energy resolution, speed and exceptional non-proportionality.
Although the invention has been described with reference to the above examples, it will be understood that modifications and variations are encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is limited only by the following claims along with their full scope of equivalents. All publications and patent documents cited in this application are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent document were so individually denoted.
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|U.S. Classification||250/370.11, 250/361.00R|
|Apr 24, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: RADIATION MONITORING DEVICES, INC., MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SHAH, KANAI S.;HIGGINS, WILLIAM M.;VAN LOEF, EDGAR V.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:022593/0651
Effective date: 20090409
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